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Premium Swedish vodka travels first class

The world has acquired a taste for Absolut Vodka – plain or with a taste of pepper, lemon, blackcurrant and many other flavours. For the journey out to customers across the world, the bottles travel in boxes made of Korsnäs packaging material.
The word “vodka” is derived from the Russian word for water. This diminutive, endearing word meaning “little water” dates back to 15th century Russia.

In 21st century Sweden, however, there is nothing “little” about the vodka. Today, the Swedish-produced vodka is sold in 126 markets around the world and is the world’s fourth largest premium spirits.

Smurfit Kappa in Nybro, Sweden, makes the transport boxes for Absolut Vodka, which also serve as display units in the stores. It is a rather complex job, given that the bottles come in a dozen sizes and a dozen different flavours plus temporary promotion editions. Because Absolut Vodka is a premium brand, quality demands are uncompromising and Smurfit Kappa can offer nothing but the best through the entire process – from material procurement and production through to a logistics solution with just-in-sequence deliveries.

The boxes are made using coated kraftliners from Korsnäs. The liner is the elegant, high-printability top exterior layer of a corrugated box. Smurfit Kappa uses two liners: Korsnäs Design for the standard products and Korsnäs Supreme for promotional packaging. Although there are two liners, two production processes and two printing techniques, they get one consistent excellent finish, which is extremely important for Absolut.

“By alternately using flexo pre-print and offset we can optimise the volume and cost ratio against customer demands,” says Ulf Svensson, Key Account Manager Smurfit Kappa. “Conditions differ. The size of production runs can span from some 7,000 units to millions. And lead times vary: for minor local promotions, amounts are small and time windows are narrow. With the two Korsnäs liners we use we can be flexible and stay in control.”
Design is a very important factor for the Absolut Vodka brand. Consequently, the print quality and appearance of the packaging are important image factors. This favours Korsnäs liners, which in addition to good printability also have high strength and stiffness properties and thus reduce the risk of “washboarding”*.

“We have only recently introduced Korsnäs Supreme to the offset printed promotion boxes,” says Ulf Svensson. “Our experience so far is very positive – the print has become clearer, more vibrant and distinct. As for Korsnäs Design, we have been using it for many years, with good results and benefits to converter and brand owner alike. With Korsnäs Design, we have also been able to reduce the weight of the packaging material, which means added value in the converting process, more print on every reel, improved space utilisation in the warehouse and opportunities to reduce waste. In fact, we managed to reduce the basis weight from 175 gsm to 145 gsm without compromising on the quality of print or box strength.”

White Top Kraftliner is one of the key offers from Korsnäs. The Korsnäs portfolio includes four white top kraftliner products in a number of specifications to accommodate a wide span of packaging applications.

*Washboarding is the phenomenon whereby the fluting structure shows as a striped pattern on the liner surface, which is not uncommon when liners of weaker quality are used.

For more information, please contact:
Per Haglund, Director Sales & Marketing Paperboard. Phone +46 26-15 11 72
Mobile +46 70-795 11 72. E-mail per.haglund@korsnas.com

Korsnäs is one of Sweden’s leading forestry companies, with three production facilities: Gävle, Frövi and Rockhammar. Production capacity amounts to 1.1 million tonnes of cartonboard and paper annually, with integrated pulp production. Korsnäs develops, manufactures and sells virgin fibre-based packaging materials intended for users with exacting requirements for efficient, creative, functional packaging solutions, primarily in the consumer goods segment. Korsnäs also produces bio fuel pellets at two plants in Latvia. The company exports approximately 90 percent of its products. Korsnäs employs 1,800 people, has annual sales of SEK 8,039 m (2009) and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Investment AB Kinnevik.